Major handball sponsor DKB steps up for World Championship rights in Germany

German banking group Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB), a major sponsor of handball in its home country, has acquired rights to the 2017 Men’s World Championship, averting a broadcast blackout in Germany of the national team tournament.

DKB has acquired exclusive rights from beIN Media Group, the tournament’s global rights distribution partner, and will live stream all games featuring reigning European champion Germany, along with other matches from the Championship, which takes place in France from January 11-29.

DKB will live stream the games for free via the website, with video-sharing platform YouTube signing on as a technical partner of the service.

Earlier this week, German Handball Federation (DHB) vice-president Bob Hanning said the organisation was seeking to devise its own means of covering the men’s national team at the 2017 World Championship.

German handball stakeholders have been seeking to avoid a repeat of the situation that arose during the most recent edition of the International Handball Federation showpiece. The 2015 Men’s World Championship took place in Qatar, with public-service broadcasters ARD and ZDF only securing rights for extracts of coverage from the tournament.

ARD and ZDF pulled out of talks to acquire live rights for the tournament before pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland struck a deal for live coverage before the start of the event.

ARD, ZDF and Sky also failed to strike deals for this year’s event., the online sports channel of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), and DAZN, the OTT sports subscription service operated by digital media specialist Perform, both recently said they had dropped out of contention to sublicense rights.

In November, DKB signed a two-year extension to its title sponsorship deal with the Handball Bundesliga German club competition. The existing contract was set to run through to 2017, but has now been extended to 2019.

DKB has also served as a partner of the DHB and several of Germany’s top clubs, including Füchsen Berlin. Stefan Unterlandstättner, chairman of the board of DKB, said of the rights deal: “As a long-standing partner of sport and handball, it is our concern that the great enthusiasm for this sport, as well as for sports in general, will remain in Germany.”